Karl Marx famously defined capital as value through motion. To make capital work in a complex global economy of markets, derivatives, and computer analyses, wealth is accumulated, inherited, invested, divested and diversified through assets, companies, holdings and trusts. The motion never stops, and that is partly what makes it consolidated in the hands of so few. But capital’s invisibility is compromised in today’s global networks—cyber-attacks and information leaks allow journalists to piece together the financial relationships among the powerful.
Like the Panama Papers (which led to the resignation of one prime minister last year while unmasking the wealth of associates close to Russian President Vladimir Putin), the Paradise Papers leak came through a duo of reporters at the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The core of the leak totals more than 13.4 million